Friday, June 24, 2011

Taking Your Measurements (Poem)

Taking Your Measurements

Your nose may be ordinary
but don't compare it

to mine. I wear the only one
I've got my own way:

in its place, not high, never stuck
in your business, not some model

of how I could make it intrude
where it's not wanted.

Your eyes may be ordinary
but don't compare them

to mine. I'm Greek. Mine flash
in the darkness of drama

and keep their green
always on. I like to go

where others don't. I get
to look into my own soul.

Your mouth may be ordinary,
or heart-shaped, thin-lipped

or thick, but don't compare it
to mine. I need mine to speak

up when I witness what you turn
blind to, know when to keep it

closed when lashed by the tongue
you won't bite. Your ears may be

ordinary, stick out or lie close, maybe
pierced, or not, but don't compare

them to mine. I have to keep mine
in tune with the sounds in my head,

listen to how my own music gets
loud or grows soft, drowns

out that other voice only I know.
Now, are you ready? You can face this:

Compare and contrast x and y,
where both x and y are you.

Repeat till you find
what you're looking for.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

I'm participating in the Domino Project's #Trust30 challenge, an online writing/reflection initiative for which a prompt is posted daily. All of the prompts to date are here.

Today's poem is inspired by the 25th prompt from consultant, trainer, educator, and best-selling author, Patti Digh, who also is an internationally renowned speaker on diversity, global business, and living intentionally:

Most Ordinary

Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are out most potent at our most ordinary. And yet most of us discount our "ordinary" because it is, well, ordinary. Or so we believe. But my ordinary is not yours. Three things block us from putting down our clever and picking up our ordinary: false comparisons with others ("I'm not so good a writer as ____."),  false expectations of ourselves ("I should be on the NYT best seller list or not write at all."), and false investments in a story ("It's all been written before, I shouldn't bother."). 

What are your false comparisons? What are your false expectations? What are your false investments in a story? List them. Each keep you from that internal knowing about which Emerson writes. Each keeps you from making your strong offer to the world. Put down your clever and pick up your ordinary.

* * * 

I've used all of the #Trust30 prompts as inspiration for new poems. Poems for prompts 16 - 24 (beginning with most recent after today's post) are:

You'll find my poem for the 15th prompt, "Truth Be Told", and a list of poems for prompts 1 - 14 here.


violet said...

Bravo Maureen! I love how this goes back and forth between inner and outer. Especially like the lines:

Eyes: "I get
to look into my own soul.

Ears: "I have to keep mine
in tune with the sounds in my head,"

Your self-knowledge and self-acceptance affirms the reader too.

Hannah Stephenson said...

Pretty darn joyful. Love it.

S. Etole said...

this is quite powerful ... and so important to remember